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Sharks move up to tab Greiss
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Juni 26, 2004; 23:49
Sharks move up to tab Greiss
Kölner Haie goalie drafted 94th overall
Frank Johne

Rosenheim native Patrick Ehelechner
Fellow-goalie Patrick Ehelechner was picked by the Sharks in 2003

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Munich, Germany - The San Jose Sharks continue to ride the "German wave". 18-year-old goaltender Thomas Greiss became the seventh German-trained player to be drafted by the Bay Area club since 1996 when he was selected with the 94th pick overall in the third round of Saturday's 2004 NHL Entry Draft in Raleigh, N.C.

San Jose's third round draft pick Thomas Greiss of the Kolner Haie
Thomas Greiss, the only German-trained draftee in 2004
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

Prior to their second round pick, San Jose moved the selection to Boston for three choices, a third rounder (94th overall), a fourth rounder (129th overall) and a ninth rounder (228th overall).

Only a year ago, the Sharks picked German goalie Patrick Ehelechner (round 5, 139th overall), who spent last season with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), and forward Kai Hospelt (round 7, 216th overall) of the Kölner Haie. Two Germans from the class of 2001 made the Sharks roster last year, centerman Marcel Goc (round 1, 20th overall) and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (round 4, 106th overall). Goalie Dimitri Pätzold was drafted the same year (round 4, #107 overall).

San Jose's first-ever German draftee, forward Marco Sturm (1996, round 1, 21th overall), is a 7-year NHL veteran.

Unfortunate pro debut for Greiss

Greiss is a product of EV Füssen, which boasts one of Germany's most renowned junior programs. He joined the Kölner Haie ("Cologne Sharks") organization in 2002 and is under contract until 2005. A third-stringer in his DEL rookie season, Greiss is set to assume to backup role behind veteran starter Chris Rogles in 2004-05.

At 6'0", 175 lbs, Greiss is a tall and strong goaltender. The Füssen, Bavaria-native is a talented and determined athlete who looks very mature despite his young age. He moves and reads the game very well, is a good puckhandler and also possesses an outstanding right glove hand. A patient stopper, Greiss likes to out-wait shooters in one-on-one showdowns. His biggest flaw is a tendency to drop down on most shots.

Greiss spent the majority of the last two seasons in the German junior ranks with the Kölner Junghaie of the DNL (Deutsche Nachwuchs Liga). His pro debut with the Kölner Haie in November 2003 was a horrible experience which lasted only 20 minutes. Greiss was substituted after allowing four goals on just ten shots in his first-ever DEL start against ERC Ingolstadt.

Greiss has posted impressive performances on the international stage, though. He was among the top goalies at the U20 World Championships Division-1 in Berlin in December 2003, posting a 1.51 GAA and .909 save percentage in 2 starts. He also started two games at the U18 World Championships Division-1 in Asiago, Italy, this spring, recording a 3.00 GAA and .880 save percentage.

Sharks "didn't want to wait"

"We didn't want to wait until tomorrow," said Tim Burke, the Sharks Director of Amateur Scouting. "We feel the kid has the potential to be a number one goalie. We thought he might not be there at 126 tomorrow."

Greiss needs to adapt to the North American game, but it is still a fifty-fifty decision on whether he stays in Europe next year or comes across the pond.

"He is in a top league and if he is playing a lot, we might keep him there," added Burke.
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